Monday, July 9, 2007

To the top of the world!

It really feels wierd logging in a story twice (one here, one in One Thousand Footsteps) but the focus is different. There I just record hikes and various bits of info about them. Here is the tale about the cache!

I saw this one get posted long ago (well, in April). Back then, Abe hadn't started caching again. But then I notice that he logs one of my caches, so I check his profile and see that he bagged the FTF on this cache. Doing a little research shows that it's up on Snow Valley Peak, the bald peak that you can see from Carson - I think, need to check that. Back then, I was thinking there is no way I'm getting that! However, now after three months of various moderate/difficult hikes, this suddenly came into the range of possibility.

So I started off and walked down the trail that I'd walked last week. Cept this time I headed up, up, up to the peak. Course, by the time that I reached the junction between the trail and North Canyon Rd, I'd changed the batteries on my GPS three times and was now out of fresh batteries and it was beeping at me that it was low. Thankfully, I'd read the cache page last night and also looked at the spoiler picture. So, once up at the peak, I simply aligned myself with where I thought it was, fired up the GPS just long enough to see that I was 200 feet from the site and as it reached 20 feet, the batteries gave out entirely. Found the cache regardless.

Managed to have enough juice in my phone to take pictures (the cameras batteries having been sacrificed to the GPS) and to log in from the summit of the peak. Also sent out a couple emails with the recently taken pictures to prove to Mamma Gravy I was still alive. Then one phone call to dad to tell him I was heading back.

The return trip was uneventful, save for one moment.

As I came over a slight rise to a section of the trail that leveled out, I happened to look up just in time to see.... a mountain lion! spring from a cluster of fallen trees and bound over the trail, up the small hill, and vanish into the forest.

Um, whoa...

Seems to be a lot of first to see animals over the last year. First bighorn sheep, first scorpion, and now first cougar. Gawds was he a beaut!

And now I'm whipped, so this is coming to a close.

Slide, Galena, and Como

Well, actually I've gone out and found some interesting caches lately.

While at work a few days ago, I see an email notify that RoadRunner published a new cache by Abe. Figuring Randy would beat me too it, I looked it up anyway and saw that it was up on Slide Mountain. Of all the peaks around here that I've been wanting to climb, Slide just never came across as one of them. So, a little research reveals the back road up and the next morning I take a risk to see if I can manage to out hike Randy (for once).

After stumbling around the campground and nearby summit looking for $5 (all I had on me was $10s and $20s and much as I like the wilderness area, the Forest Service is not getting that much of a tip from me) I park the truck and begin the hike up the service road. An hour later I find myself overlooking Washoe Valley, the Truckee Meadows, and a good half of Lake Tahoe. BEAUTIFUL!

Course, I had to call Abe as my foul GPS was still 30 feet off and his definition of a "tower" varied from mine. Drat. Still, bagged the peak and the FTF. This morning was good.

Mamma Gravy and I hooked up on Friday for our hike, but as it was over 100 degrees, we opted to just work on a couple very well-done multis. The first had us following clues through the trees, but I needed a lifeline as the standard clue vanished and was replaced by a container with the coords. I like having Cache Angels on speed dial.

The second multi was an awesome puzzle (three of them actually) leading up to a great overlook of Reno. Course, the heat was starting to get to us by this point, but I did have a spark of brilliance on the second puzzle and found a completely harm free work-around to get the answer. I've seen/heard of too many caches falling victim to impatient cachers.

Today, Dad and I had some free time, so we drove out to Como Rd in search of two FTFs. Course, stupid me navigated him onto the completely wrong road. Watching the ever growing plume of smoke from a large fire to the south, we wheeled across the Eldorado Canyon Reservoir dam and headed up to the powerline road on the other side of the ravine. Eventually came to some ruins that my GPS labeled as the Canyon Quarry, and the cache lie on the other side. Parked and followed some old footprints out (desert caching at it's finest - Follow the Footprints!) and the cache, and FTF, was ours!

The second cache had just been published the night before. I love that notify email. So we wheeled up to the site and got out at what looked like a good turn around point. Cheatgrass, dry day, and hot vehicle underparts are not a good combo and the thick layer of smoke was a good reminder to be safe. The hint said to reach up, course this gazelle just climbed right to the top and sat next to the cache. Uncovered it and handed it down to dad and the logbook was opened to record our second.... TO FIND?!

ARGHHHH, beaten by two Minden based cachers, BigTruckCrew and lil miss muffit. Both of whom had scored the FTF on Dad's new cache - and the proof of that visit was resting in the bottom of the cache currently in Dad's hand. The Green Jeep Travel Bug made it a whopping 10 miles before ending back in our hands. I just had to grab it.

Replaced everything as found and headed home for the day. The smoke had turned and filled the entire valley, dropping ash as it did. I really hope it doesn't affect my hike to Snow Valley Peak tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

A very good weekend

Haven't been doing much cache-wise as for some reason I've not really been in the caching mood. It's like if I have the choice between caching and "something else", something else usually wins. I even had a whole day and ran a PQ on Fallon since I know John's been busy out there - but staring at the map, the thought of driving out there just did not appeal to me.

So, if you hop over to the One Thousand Footsteps blog, you'll see what I've been doing when I'm not caching.

However, I was invited by GeoJeepers to join them as they ran around the desert picking up the Rally caches. They were in So. Cal during that weekend and I was hanging out with Lynn and Letty, so there were now 50 odd caches waiting to be found. I missed the Saturday run, but was able to join them Sunday.

So, first thing in the morning it's the required stop at Starbucks, followed by a photo-op off all the Jeeps (and one lone Toyota) before we were off. We were heading for the Night Rally caches, those throughout the area between the Minden Airport and Sunrise Pass Rd. There were a few that were non-Rally caches, but of those I needed only one. Jeeper had pre-run the route we were to follow, so we bounced along through the desert, winding our way around the various caches (all of which were "pipe bombs" - white PVC pipes - in a bush). Linda had way to much fun with the predictions about what we would find and where, course no one was about the bet she was wrong.

All told, for me anyway, the day netted 22 caches. Jeepers, Geospyder, and L3-Geo went off to Virginia City for more caching fun and I had to head to work.

That night, however, I learned that I had Monday off. Not a whole lot of time to plan for anything, but Dad was also off for the Independence Day holiday. So, we went after another kind of cache.

A couple weeks ago, Dad spotted a cache in California that was still waiting for the FTF - 8 months after it was published. So, we packed up the truck and headed to Summit City, north of Truckee. We wound our way back into an area dotted with slickrock and a lot of lakes, and finally crawled down into an open meadow with a large lake in the center. Meadow Lake was also home of 5 other caches. We worked our way through a few of them before heading up a very rocky 4x4 trail that began climbing the mountainside.

What awaited us at the site was a breathtaking view of the entire area, no trees up here, just a straight panaramic view. The cache was found, the Jeep toys got to play on the rocks and our Tacoma got to pretend it was a real rock crawler for awhile. Then back down to the ghost town. A few more caches, one up in the cemetary and another in more 4x4 rocks, and then to the final cache in the area. The description read it was on an island in the lake. Wading or swimming was required, and there was a cautionary note that the winter may have swept the cache away into the lake itself. Fun.

We pulled up to the site and walked through the campground to face the island.... and there was none. The water level was so low that the "island" was a sandy penninsula with high and dry ground straight to the cache. I dove into the bush and retrieved it, before replacing it by shoving it back in it's little niche so tightly nothing short of brunt strength is freeing it. But, I was disappointed that I didn't get to get into the water. So, I went out there anyway.

Nice thing about REI hiking pants is they dry super fast - so I took off my boots (the boots are waterproof, but the water was deeper than the cuffs and my socks are anything but waterproof) and walked straight out into the water towards some old tree stumps that were exposed. That was total fun and I went back to grab my boots and then walked in the lake as far as I could before having to come onto ground again to head to the truck.

We drove back out towards Truckee before heading up into Tahoe to drop off the various bugs and coins that we've been carrying around since White Hill. However, the one decent sized cache that's easy to get to was now locked inside a closed Visitor Center - so it was up and over Mt. Rose to go for the caches up there that I knew about. Found two and dropped off everything we had (cept the Red Jeep, not sure yet what I'm going to do with it).

Once back into Reno, we went to go see Rattatoui (sp?) before going home.

Yeah, this was an awesome weekend.